wow they still haven't kicked me off this thing yet for blog with fewest entries.
it is amazing the type of solace you can get from a big city.
our first study trip began with a small detour. verona, where we saw 2 works by carlo scarpa, the renovation of the castelvecchio and after, the banca popolare. the detailing of the projects, but especially of the bank, are so amazing its nauseating. friend A best describes it as "so sexy it makes you want to lick it." a short peep at juliet's balcony and some went to touch her "heart" for some good luck in love. 3 carnevale-filled days in venice followed. aside from the city being filled with tired feet and unbelievable crowds, venice was a maze of old elegance. you could walk through an alley that seemed to lead to nowhere but into a dead end canal or sometimes you got lucky and it opened into a wide plaza. i'd say the best part about venice is the mystery is seems to keep, even when you've spent 3 days trying to figure it out. looking at a map can help you get to where you need to go, but by no means do you ever feel like you have any idea in which direction you are heading. with the buildings that tower over you, you never really get to see the city as a whole, only bits and parts, and almost every part looks like the other. and during carnavale, the crowds make it difficult to pay attention to anything in particular, not to mention the amazing costumes and masks that grab your attention and make you forget where you're heading. it's all very overwhelming yet incredibly exciting to be there when the locals and 10 times the amount tourists are there, all packed into a tiny area of bridges and alleys. fritellas (awesome balls of joy that are only sold during the 10 days of carnevale. pretty much a creampuff, fried, and rolled in sugar) are sold in every shop, and hot spiced wine on every corner. glittered, beaded, painted, paper mached, collaged, feathered; masks of all sorts are displayed and sold, ranging from 12 euros to 200 euros (if not more). people walk around with faces painted or covered, all throughout the day. some are silly costumes; the more popular seemed to be a variety of dog suits. i can only assume its more of the local elite who wear the extravagant gowns and wigs of the 18th century. it really is a wonder to see tourists and ball gown/tailcoat-wearing folks side-by-side.
on our way to ljubljana (slovenia), we stopped by triste, to see the tomba di brion. i have to say, this may have been where i really fell in love with scarpa (though i should mention that the olivetti shop in venizia was really amazing as well. the wooden joints on the railings, the incredible staircase...o man.). the space of the chapel is intimate and the light is subtle from an opening in the ceiling and some slender windows. his use of material is never excessive, but modest, and appears natural, as if it was meant to be combined in such ways. the influence from f.l.w is obvious, but scarpa has definitely found a way to extract from the textile theme f.l.w is known for and created his own distinct style.
ljubljana claims to be the "cutest post-communist city" in slovenia, and though i have no idea what the rest of the country looks like, i'm sure ljubljana (loo-be-aana) is the cutest city of them all. here, we saw a few works by plecnik, including the outdoor market along the river, and the university library. bruno (our hth instructor) gets very excited about plecnik's use of material. i think i was still awe-struck from scarpa's work at this point..so i can't really say i cared too much for the work itself, but the city really is nice. the river is incredibly still, and the people, my goodness they are super nice! the food we had there was excellent. i had a steak in truffle sauce. yum. tried some horse meat. that was quite delicious as well.
in payerbach, we stayed at the looshaus. the Steiner Family now runs the home as a hotel/lodge. they serve an amazing garlic soup and chinese cabbage cream soup. the entrees are good as well, but a little salty for my taste. they have a 5 month old puppy named Fanni, a bernese mountain dog with the largest paws i have ever seen in my life, absolutely adorable. the house has 3 levels, and a roof terrace. i was able to see the rooms our group occupied, and though i wasn't amazed, i was very impressed with the point where the "lobby" room and the stairways meet. the mirror is placed in the perfect spot to create that sense of roominess in an otherwise claustrophobic area. the color choices are also unexpectedly beautiful.
graz was next on the list. there we saw colin fournier and peter cook's kunsthaus (dubbed the friendly alien by locals; blue blob with ventricle looking things at the top; known for the fluorescent circular blub animations on its surface). an entertaining exterior, but the interior isn't so exciting, maybe even a little disappointing. half of the exhibits were closed due to new installations. we only got to view the very top floor and the needle (which by the way, seems to have been placed there for no obvious reason. its distracting at best). we also checked out the murinsel, by new york artist vito acconic. its a fancy multi-use bridge (houses an amphitheatre, and a cafe/bar) that floats in the river mur. small city but nice overall. spent some time walking up some 260 steps to the top of schlossberg, where we saw a nice big clock tower (looks like something disneyland copied) and stopped to have a beer. while meandering the mean streets of graz, we came upon the stadtpfarrkirche, where there is a stained glass window with hitler and mussolini in the background of jesus being tortured. that was interesting.
last on our stop was vienna. how i have missed the big city. first and foremost I have to say, vienna has a super awesome subway system; so efficient, and so damn clean! so getting around was easy and inexpensive. there was still a lot of walking, but it wasn't as noticeable as the other places. we actually covered a lot of area and saw many things, and I really don't feel like going through each one….so I'll list some of them, and then make notes.
loos haus (raiffeisen bank) – closed, so we didn't get to see the interior, but from the outside I got a couple of shots.
postsparkasse – wagner did an amazing job. photographs really do not do this place justice. As you walk down the street, you are surrounded by facades of the neo-classical and baroque, and then the facade dramatically changes to that of what bruno calls "kladdung" (cladding). it is such a strong and beautiful surface. massive yet accessible. the interior is just incredible, especially the way the light filters through the glass ceiling.
karlsplatz pavilion – absolutely lovely
secession building (beethoven frieze) – the building of course is gorgeous on the exterior, but to my disappointment, the interior is quite banal. the space is used as an exhibition space, and the walls look as if they cover all the beauty that could have been. the best part is the beethoven frieze; it really is a master piece. the way the gold paint glimmers is just amazing, and the sketches are haunting.
leopold museum - houses the largest egon schiele collection in the world, and some klimt.
schloss belvedere – a huge collection of amazing klimt work, including the kiss and judith! my god i fell in love all over again.
staatsoper – reminded me of that scene in pretty woman when richard gere takes julia to the opera. acoustics weren't so great, but being inside that place was an enjoyable time capsule.
all in all, a great, exhausting 10 days.
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